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Monday, January 24, 2011
Is it fair to question Jay Cutler's heart?

By Matt Mosley

The Chicago Bears have now told us that quarterback Jay Cutler suffered a sprain of the medial collateral ligament in his left knee during a 21-14 loss to the Green Bay Packers on Sunday. But I'm pretty sure that diagnosis won't quiet the critics who felt like Cutler could've played through the injury in the second half.

ESPN's Michael Wilbon compiled some of the tweets that came rolling in from former and current players across the league. Former Buccaneers linebacker Derrick Brooks may have delivered the harshest commentary once it became official that Cutler couldn't return to the field:

"There is no medicine for a guy with no guts and heart," tweeted Brooks.

Now that news of the MCL sprain has arrived, I'm wondering if some folks will soften their stance toward Cutler. I asked Giants defensive tackle Barry Cofield what he thought of the situation and received a more diplomatic response.

"A wise man once told me that it's easy to be tough with somebody else's body," said Cofield via text.

And I think that's why Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher is so upset with the national response to Cutler's injury. First of all, Urlacher's being a good teammate. But he also wonders how folks watching the game from their homes can feel so certain about Cutler's lack of courage.

It will be interesting to see if Cutler's other teammates continue to stand beside him. Here's what one Bears legend had to say about the topic while appearing on "Mike & Mike" on ESPN Radio:

"I don't know if anybody can play the game when they're not 100 percent or not well," said Mike Ditka. "I can't speak for Jay Cutler. I can't speak for anybody.

"Myself, I would have had to have been paralyzed to come out of the game. I don't want to say that word. I would have had to be completely knocked out to come out of that football game."

And so a quarterback who already had a perception problem is at the center of another storm. And this one appears to have staying power.